Easter in the Western Church arrived long before Passover this year. Until Constantine changed the calendar in the fourth century, the early church celebrated the Resurrection on the first Sunday after the Sabbath of Passover. I’ve watched several Jewish friends prepare for Passover by thoroughly cleaning their house of any leaven (yeast or mold). We can all benefit from spring cleaning.
If you are picturing endless, sweat-provoking labor, lots of church services, or a long string of do-gooding, stop right now.
It’s not about how hard we work or how much we do, how much we give up, or how much we suffer. If it were, all we’d have to do is join the ranks of those who have all the answers and preach, or shout, the rules for everyone else.
It’s about living open-hearted. Surrendered to a will far greater, far wiser, and far clearer than ours.
After trying so hard (unsuccessfully) for years, I’ve found that I can simply ask the Holy Spirit to direct my vision, show me any areas of my heart, mind, memories or emotions that host elements that can ferment uncleanness in my life.
That’s a lot of words to say the Spirit can show us what is hurting us, or has the potential to harm us, or hamper growth, or cause us to damage others.
The Lord, through his Spirit, has been very gentle and patient with me. Oh, so patient. (Amazing that I never hear, “Will you just get on with it?” when I take another lap around Mt Sinai, out in the desert, instead of heading for the promised land.)
And, the greatest news, He provides the power to change, once we realize we need it, and we ask for help.
This is where we exercise some muscle. Our will.
It’s not a bootstrap operation. (Did you know that, “God helps those who help themselves,” is not in the Bible?)
First, we let go of the bootstraps! We stop trying to be “as good as” . . .”if only.”
But we do need to cooperate.
We simply cup our hands and catch the springtime rain of the Spirit on our dry, bruised or weary spirits.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matt 11:28-30 MSG